Unsolved mysteries ... we are drawn to them.
The Voynich Manuscript
Named after the Polish-American antiquarian bookseller Wilfrid M. Voynich,
who acquired it in 1912, the Voynich Manuscript is a detailed 240-page book
written in a language or script that is completely unknown.
Its pages are also filled with colorful drawings of strange diagrams, odd events and plants that do not seem to match any known species.
Carbon dating has revealed that its pages were made sometime between 1404 and 1438. It has been called "the world's most mysterious manuscript."
The mystery of the Phaistos Disc is a story that sounds like something out of an Indiana Jones movie.
Discovered by Italian archaeologist Luigi Pernier in 1908 in the Minoan palace-site of Phaistos,
the disc is made of fired clay and contains mysterious symbols that may represent an unknown form of hieroglyphics. It is believed that it was designed sometime in the second millennium BC.
Look from afar at the 18th-century Shepherd's Monument in Staffordshire, England,
and you might take it as nothing more than a sculpted re-creation of Nicolas Poussin's famous painting, “Arcadian Shepherds.”
Look closer, though, and you'll notice a curious sequence of letters: DOUOSVAVVM — a code that has eluded decipherment for over 250 years.
Though the identity of the code carver remains a mystery, some have speculated that the code could be a clue left behind by the Knights Templar about the whereabouts of the Holy Grail.
Many of the world's greatest minds have tried to crack the code and failed, including Charles Dickens and Charles Darwin.
HOW TO WRITE A BEST-SELLER
The sad truth is that plenty of those who speak contemptuously of Dan Brown’s or Stieg Larsson's prose
are writers who could not get a child interested in a fairy tale.
True, I, too, would never call Brown a “good writer” — yet many very successful novelists are not: Stieg Larsson, for example.
A book doesn’t have to be especially well-written, plausible or original to be a bestseller (although it can be).
The characters don’t have to be particularly interesting, as John Grisham proves again and again.
In fact, if there is one trait that all of the bestsellers Hall considers absolutely share, it’s that a lot of people like them.
Which begs the question:
WHY DO A LOT OF PEOPLE LIKE THEM?
Only the genuine enthusiasm of the reading public will make it an ongoing hit.
Word of mouth — one reader raving to another about how much he or she enjoyed it — is the single determining factor. And you can’t buy that.
So why does that public fall in love with some crappy books but not others?
More often than you might think, luck and timing play a deciding role.
There were dozens of erotica romances before 50 SHADES.
But James emerged from the word-of-mouth factory that is Twilight fandom, and as a result her books introduced hundreds of thousands of readers to a genre they didn’t know existed,
much as Stephenie Meyers had introduced them to the vampire romance novel a few years before.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE UNSOLVED MYSTERY?
WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE RECIPE FOR A BEST-SELLER?